Friday, February 24, 2006

Some woman of the aristocratic persuasion made the comment that the popular role of the upper classes is being replaced with celebrity. Generations ago the tabloids were filled with the tawdry exploits of society's betters. They still make a few inches but they are predominately pushed to the corners by the vulgarities perpetrated by footballers, glamour girls, and actors. This industrial gossip economy seems a necessary part of our society. I suppose we find it reassuring that those blessed unfairly1 do not live a completely charmed life devoid of embarrassment or moral failing.

Generations ago, celebrity and the lottery of one's birth were synonymous. You need only have a grandpa who murdered a king's brother or gave him a horse in a timely situation to live a life of wealth and indolence. This system is no more fair than the present one where being born with a innate ability to kick an animal's bladder into a net or the ability to seduce those bladder kickers warrants the sums or attention they command. So it goes.

However the present system has one important advantage; built in obsolescence. The further back your line of high born relatives go does not diminish one's prestige. This is not so with celebrity. The grandchild of the Earl of Kent still receives considerable respect, but do you think the grandchild of Britney Spears will be doing much more than pumping gas back in Arkansas? Some children of stars have rung fetid drops of celebrity from the corpses of their parents, but thankfully it is a rarity. This is as it should be. Why the hell should we care that someone's ancestor sang that song that goes, "doot doot de de doot"? The strange bit is why we care that someone's great great great grandfather was the best darn face stabber in the king's forces and was rewarded with some nasty backwater of the kingdom.
Maybe it was my uppity upbringing that gives me the notion that respect is earned not willed. I suppose the counter argument could be the allergic reaction to dignity that celebrity engenders. They'll open their houses and bedrooms if it gives them some more print time. It is only a matter of time before we must endure Tom Cruise's hour long colonscopy special. True this is more despicable than the gentry's preference for hushing up embarrasments. Yet, they are not immune to the harpy's call of fame, and the results are equally pathetic.
Once again in the words of the prophet: so it goes.

1) The only deserved blessings are those bestowed upon ourselves, right?

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